Have you been accused of making others feel guilty? Have you refrained from saying something for fear of making someone feel guilty? Have you heard someone protest, “You’re just trying to make me feel guilty”? Instinctively we feel it’s wrong to make someone feel guilty.
And then I heard an older minister friend say with a broad smile, “I have a ministry of making people feel guilty” – as if it’s something to be proud of! Was he totally out of order (which was my first thought) or did I need to think about this a little more carefully?
Now, if it’s our intention to make other people feel guilty, that’s not a godly desire! However, if we’re reminding them of something they ought to be doing which they aren’t doing (or ought not to be doing which they are doing) and as a result they feel guilty, is that such a bad thing? Especially if we’re reminding them of God’s requirements?
If that were something to be avoided, we’d have to say that the Lord Jesus and his apostles didn’t do a very good job! They’re constantly reminding us of what God requires of us. Take a look for yourself! Anyway, is feeling guilty such a bad thing if I’m living contrary to what God requires? Isn’t that my conscience working to bring me to repentance? So, having thought about it again I realise my friend was right after all – as he usually is!
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)